Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for visiting TheReImage.net. Although the site is still under development, below are some basic questions and answers to give you more information about TheReImage project.
Q: What is TheReImage?
A: TheReImage is an online, digital media campaign to re-create the image of people with vision loss while establishing new possibilities. The foundation of the project is TheReImage.net website which offers a first-hand, genuine perspective on the everyday experiences of people with vision loss. Through the written word and audio clips, people with vision los tell their stories about raising children, owning a home, taking a trip, enjoying the outdoors, working at a job, spending time with friends, dealing with family issues, managing a household, relaxing with a favorite hobby, getting an education, and the like. Whether people have no sight, some sight, or full sight, they share common human experiences that make them more alike than different. TheReImage.net aims to emphasize those similarities in an effort to break through the long-held stereotypes and misperceptions about people with vision loss.
Q: Why is there a need for TheReImage?
A: Across the United States and around the world, people with vision loss are categorized and stereotyped on a regular basis. Immediately upon hearing the word “blind”, many sighted individuals begin to make unfair assumptions about the individual with vision loss. The misperceptions usually fit into one of two categories on opposite ends of the spectrum. People with vision loss are often viewed as incompetent and needy such as: they are always looking for handouts or need money; they are dependent on others to cook, clean, launder, dress, and generally support them; they are unable to work or be contributing members of society; their dog guides and/or children take care of them; their lives are dark, difficult, and unhappy; and the like. When people with vision loss are not perceived as standing around with a hand out, but instead are working at a job, swimming across a lake, or hiking a mountain, they are touted as “inspirational.” This often patronizing perspective pats people with vision loss on the back for either achieving the lowest of society’s expectations for them or for demonstrating what is perceived as their incredibly super-human senses. Unfortunately these misperceptions have become the basis for society’s image of people with vision loss.
Often these misperceptions are fueled by fear of the unknown. Although the number of people with vision loss in the world is enormous, 285 million according to the World Health Organization, the incidence of blindness is relatively low, approximately 4% of the world’s total population. This means there are billions of people in the world who have never met or interacted with a person with vision loss. These billions of sighted individuals believe blindness leads to a dark, dismal life without purpose and joy. In the 2010 Eye on Eyesight Survey conducted by Surge Research, seventy-nine percent of the 1,050 respondents believe other than their own death or the death of a loved one, losing their eyesight is the “worst” thing that could happen to them. The overwhelming majority of sighted people have no first-hand point of experience with blindness or someone who is blind and so they rely on the images they see in popular culture to shape their perception of people with vision loss.
Time and time again, people with vision loss are portrayed in books, movies, and television programs with inaccurate portrayals compared to the real lives of “average” persons with vision loss. In Marvel’s Daredevil, an attorney who is blind possesses super-human senses and uses them to fight crime. In Danielle Steel’s 2014 novel, “The perfect Life,” the character Salema is totally blind and completely dependent on an aide for every daily living task. Even in the long-standing, frequently performed and dramatized play, “The Miracle Worker,” Helen Keller is portrayed as animal-like before she learns to communicate. When people do not have a first-hand frame of reference, they adopt these pop culture images of people with vision loss as the norm. And thus, negative images of people with vision loss abound.
Q: Are there sample stories that illustrate TheReImage’s future content?
A: Yes, read these sample stories to get a feel for our narrative tone and check back for additional samples.
Q: How can I submit a story to be published on TheReImage?
A: TheReImage welcomes written and audio content on a variety of topics from individuals around the world.
Q: How can I help with TheReImage?
A: The realization of TheReImage website and online campaign will take a team effort. There are many ways for individuals of all abilities and interests to get involved.
- Write your stories or the stories of other people with vision loss
- Share story ideas for others to write or record
- Join TheReImage audio team to record stories and interviews
- Become an editor to assure top-notch written and audio content
- Tell your friends with vision loss about this important project
- Help us create our logo and develop TheReImage brand
- Assist us in fundraising or identifying financial sponsors for the project
- Use your web design skills on TheReImage.net
If you would like to become a part of TheReImage team or assist in any way, please email content@TheReImage.net or call 412-564-3214. A member of our coordinating team will be happy to follow up with you soon.